Divided We Fall: Parole Supervision Conditions Prohibiting Inter-Offender Associations
University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law and Social Change, Forthcoming
59 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2018
Date Written: February 22, 2018
In the United States, almost all criminal offenders who serve a term of imprisonment are subject to a period of post-incarceration supervision. Commonly known as parole, this form of supervision requires former inmates to comply with a variety of conditions. A nationwide survey of standard parole conditions reveals that a vast majority of jurisdictions categorically restrict parolees’ associations with other parolees, convicted criminals, and/or convicted felons. These blanket offender no-association conditions ostensibly presume that former offenders are irreparably flawed, homogenous, and that inter-offender relationships are uniformly criminogenic. This article questions those presumptions, suggesting that offender no-association conditions endorse an untenable conceptualization of former offenders, a rejection of evidence-based parole practices, an uninformed view of inter-offender associations, and a superficial application of criminological theory. This article further argues that by categorically prohibiting all inter-offender associations, offender no-association conditions foreclose strengths-based approaches to reentry and inhibit mechanisms that can foster criminal desistance. In this way, such conditions unnecessarily subvert the rehabilitative goal of parole, likely making them impermissibly overbroad in their current form.
Keywords: Parole, Parolee, Supervision Conditions, Associations
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